A Scottish fisherman who sailed to the Isle of Man from Oban on the promise of work has been fined £5,000 for breaching the Emergency Powers Act.
Mr Neil MacDonald, 39, from Sinclair, Oban, was arrested at Peel breakwater on Sunday, 19 April.
According to a news report from the Isle of Man Today it is said Mr MacDonald claimed he was unaware that the closure of the island’s borders on March 27 extended to Manx territorial waters.
MacDonald appeared before High Bailiff, Jayne Hughes Monday, 20 April, the day following his arrest.
Prosecutor Rebecca Cubbon told the court that MacDonald was the skipper of a Manx-registered vessel, the 14.98m-long ‘Zephyr’ PL 6, owned by Billy Caley.
The ‘Zephyr’ was tracked on its journey from Scotland to Manx waters and into Peel where MacDonald picked up a crew member at 1.00am on Sunday and headed south to the fishing grounds off the coast of Port Erin.
Police were called to Peel breakwater at about 4.30pm on Sunday, at which point the vessel was sitting offshore.
MacDonald was subsequently arrested for violating entry restrictions as set out in the Emergency Powers Act.
The Prosecutor said MacDonald had been told he could fish in Manx waters as long as he didn’t leave the boat.
Defence advocate David Clegg said that MacDonald was not aware that the restrictions extended to the island’s territorial waters.
He added: “But for that, he has been extremely careful.
“He has been self-isolating on his boat for five weeks and but for the fact that the waters are included, his approach was pragmatic.”
Mr Clegg said MacDonald did not set foot on the island until being arrested by police and that he had only docked in Peel at the invitation of the police.
He said neither his client nor the crew member had any symptoms of Covid-19.
Mr Clegg said his client accepted he “should’ve checked more thoroughly” over the regulations and that he “wouldn’t have dreamed of coming” if he knew he would be violating the regulations.
Mrs Hughes said that both herself and her colleague Deputy High Bailiff, Chris Arrowsmith had jailed every person brought before them for Covid breaches but that she accepted MacDonald was an exception to the rule.
Mrs Hughes said that it had not been contradicted by anyone that he acted on behalf of and after taking advice from, the vessel’s owner but his actions were still a serious breach.
She fined MacDonald £5,000 and ordered him to pay costs of £125.
As he was leaving the courtroom, MacDonald said: “I’d just like to apologise to the court and the people of the Isle of Man.”
Source. IOM Today